BRYAN, Texas – University of Arkansas senior Kelli Shean fired a final round four-under 68 earning a runner-up finish at the 2011 NCAA Women’s Golf National Championship in Bryan, Texas, Saturday.
Shean’s finish led the No. 11 Razorbacks to a program-best fifth-place finish at The Traditions Club just outside of College Station, Texas.
The Cape Town, South Africa, native finished with a 284, the second-lowest NCAA Championship round in program history, with rounds of 75-70-71-68. Her final round 68 is the second-best NCAA Tournament score for the Razorbacks.
"I attacked most of the flags out there and I just wanted to give my teammates and coaches my best," Shean said. "It’s been about playing as a team and for my family and I wanted to do well for them. My success is a team effort. We have a great team and we have a bright feature with our younger players. I’m grateful for these guys."
As a team, the Razorbacks shot a program-best 1190 with rounds of 305-296-296-293 for the week. Arkansas’ final round 293 is a program-best.
"This team is amazing," Arkansas head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor said. "We’ve been behind the eight ball after the first round all year and they hunkered down and played fantastic golf when it meant the most. "I can’t say enough about Kelli Shean. By her standards, she probably struggled a little bit but for her to come in here and play some of her best golf says a lot about the kind of champion she is."
In addition to Shean, the Razorbacks got great play from all five players. Freshman Emily Tubert finished tied for 19th overall, the best-ever for an Arkansas freshman. Tubert shot 76-73-71-74 for 294.
"I didn’t give myself quite as many opportunities as I did yesterday and I struggled a bit putting all week," Tubert said. "This has been a great event and a great experience and I’m definitely looking forward to the next three years."
Redshirt freshman Emma Lavy tied for 69th overall with a 306 in her first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. Lavy shot 80-74-78-74 for the week.
Sophomore Victoria Vela was solid all week with rounds of 77-79-77-77=310 and finished tied for 88th while senior Corinna Rees ended her Razorback career tied for 113th with a 319 with rounds of 77-79-77-86.
"This team has been special all year," Estes-Taylor said. "It’s been an awesome year to coach these guys, and our future looks bright. Mike (Adams, assistant coach) and I work hard to put together a group of young women who want to work hard in the classroom and on the golf course and we are definitely headed in the right direction."
Arkansas finished tied for fifth with top-ranked Southern California. The Razorbacks and SC were just four strokes behind Virginia who counted 1186. Second-ranked UCLA won the event edging defending champion Purdue at the wire. LSU was third.
Saturday’s play concludes the final round of the season for the Razorbacks and the final collegiate round for seniors Rees and Shean, both of whom graduated last Saturday and plan to turn professional in the coming weeks.